Boycott call fails to stop marathon in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
People run past a street performer at an entrance to the Old City as they take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 1. REUTERS photoAbout 20,000 runners took part in Jerusalem’s third annual marathon on March 1, with 1,000 police deployed to provide security along the route, police said.
The Palestine Liberation Organization had called for a boycott of the marathon, part of which went through annexed, mainly Arab east Jerusalem.
Near the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem a group of protesters tried to approach the course but were kept back by police and barricades, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “There was an attempt by about 50-60 demonstrators to try and make their way toward the running area,” he said. “[There were] no major incidents apart from that.”
The PLO appealed to “all participants and sponsors of the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon to withdraw their sponsorship and participation or else become complicit in covering up Israel’s grave human rights abuses in its occupation of the State of Palestine.”
The race had participants from 52 countries running in either the full 42-kilometer marathon, the half marathon or a 10-kilometer dash. It started at the Israeli parliament and followed a hilly course, part of which goes through east Jerusalem including a short stretch inside the Old City.
Ethiopia’s Abraham Kabeto Ketla won the men’s marathon in a time of two hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds, a record for the Jerusalem event, organizers said. In second and third place were Kenyans Luka Kipkemoi Chelimo and Vincent Kiplagat Kiptoo. Ethiopia’s Mihiret Anamo Anotonios won the women’s event for the second consecutive year, in a time of two hours, 47 minutes and 26 seconds.
Unlike the stormy conditions of last year, this Friday morning in Jerusalem was mild and dry.